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Kemono Friends Interview with Kaji and Fukuhara

Senhart Mar 27th, 2017 (edited) 4,101 Never
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  1. http://www.animatetimes.com/news/img.php?id=1488452395&p=1&n=1
  2.  
  3. This is an interview of Kadokawa Comic's Editor in Chief Kaji Masa, and Yaoyozoru's Director YoshitadaFukuhara.
  4.  
  5. Interview talks about how Kemono Friends franchise project came to be.
  6.  
  7. Table of contents
  8. ・『けものフレンズ』の原作は「動物」、アニメもコミックも可能性のひとつ
  9. > The Theme of "Kemono Friends" is "Animals". Manga and anime are just some of the possibilities
  10. ・「二次創作がオーケー!?」な寛容なスタンスの理由は?
  11. > "Outsider work OK?" Why be this lenient?
  12. ・『けものフレンズ』はビジネス度外視のプロジェクト?
  13. > Does "Kemono Friends" care about the business aspect of the project?
  14. ・空前のブレイク前にヒットの予兆はあったのか?
  15. > What were the signs for this runaway hit?
  16. ・『けものフレンズ』の原点はシンガポールの動物園にアリ!?
  17. > "Kemono Friend" started from a zoo at Singapore?
  18. ・「サンドスター」や「じゃぱりまん」などの謎に迫ってみた!
  19. > Getting to the bottom to the mystery behind 'Sandstar' and 'Japari Bun'
  20. ・動画まわりをすべて手がける「たつき監督」の恐るべき守備範囲
  21. > The versatility of Director Tatsuki, who's involved in everything
  22. ・『けもフレ』はガラパゴス的な進化をしたアニメ
  23. > "Kemono Friends" is an anime that evolved like the Galapagos
  24. ・名物コーナーのひとつ「アライグマ」と「フェネック」の誕生秘話
  25. > The birth of Fennac and Raccoon's special corner.
  26. ・「すごーい!」や「たのしー!」など、耳に残る声優さんのボイス
  27. > 'Sugo-i!' and 'Tanoshi-i', the VA's voices that are stuck in your ears
  28. ・ブレイクの兆しはいつ? アニメ化決定から放送開始までを振り返る
  29. > When did the trending sign appear? A look back from the anime getting green-lit to live broadcast
  30. ・ヒットの要因のひとつは、運営が動物を愛する気持ちがファンに伝わったから!?
  31. > The reason why this is a hit- the creators have spread the love of animals to the fans!?
  32. ・大人から子供まで楽しめる作品にしたかった――(福原氏)
  33. > Wanting to make an anime that can be enjoyed by young and old -- Fukuhara
  34. ・静止画で構成され話題となったエンディングのアイデアの源は?
  35. > Just what's with the idea of using those still images for the ED which is causing a stir?
  36. ・重版が決定した『オフィシャルガイドブック』の中身はこうなる!
  37. > Just what's inside the "Official Guidebook" which is getting a reprint!
  38. ・最後にファンの呼称、これからみなさんに届けたいことを聞いてみました
  39. > Finally, what are some words to the fans
  40.  
  41. > The Theme of "Kemono Friends" is "Animals". Manga and anime are just some of the possibilities
  42.  
  43. Reporter: First of all, congratulations on the runaway hit of "Kemono Friends". So can you tell us where you got the idea for the project: what was the circumstances behind the launch of the contents?
  44.  
  45. Kadokawa: Kemono Friends came about as an IP that's based on Yoshizaki Mine's worldview and illustrations. As such, our plan wasn't to make an anime, a game, or a movie, but rather something bigger, as in ' to make an IP that would last 100 years.' as what we aiming for.
  46.  
  47. Reporter: That sounds interesting. So you are concerned with the IP before commercialization aspects such as with games and anime.
  48.  
  49. Kadokawa: it is only by chance that the game came about first. (Released March 2015). There are people who claim that 'it's based on a game' when that is not the case. The game was thought of as a part of various offerings. "Kemono Friends" is a big project that comprises of various media formats.
  50.  
  51. Reporter: But you haven't really clarified just what was the original work of "Kemono Friends" like.
  52.  
  53. Kadokawa: It's already been laid out by Yoshizaki Mine-san. "Kemono Friends" is based on 'animals.' Yoshizaki-san gave us the original view such as Japari Park, Sandstar and Cerulean, but the work is still based on 'animals'.
  54.  
  55. Yaoyozoru: So it's to say that Yoshizaki-sensei is not the original author, but rather the concept designer.
  56.  
  57. Kadokawa: The triad of game, anime and comic look to be standalone at first, but they are actually connected. The game can't be played anymore because the service has ended, but those who have had the experience could see the common ground over the various events that have taken place on the stage that is Japari Park... I hope that you enjoyed them.
  58.  
  59. Yaoyozoru: I agree. Kemono Friends can be enjoyed just with a single entry in itself, but it's even more fun when you understand everything. Yoshizaki-sensei may have defined such terms as 'Sandstar' or 'Japari Park', but there's no fixed interpretation on those terms, so this leaves the people who's working on the game, comic and anime some room to interpret those things in their own terms.
  60.  
  61. Reporter: That's also quite unique. I think that you normally would make the general setting as "XX is such and such!" Does Yoshizaki-sensei look at these interpretations with an accepting view, leaving the interpretation completely up to the authors of all the derivative work?
  62.  
  63. Yaoyozoru: That's right.
  64.  
  65. Kadokawa: I don't know since I have not asked him in person, but I do think that that he has this in mind since he wants others to think about it on their own. Yoshizaki-san would've set the 'answer' if he draws them out.
  66.  
  67. Yaoyozoru: Komikku (Kemono Friends - youkoso Japari Park e!) has a totally different art style to Yoshizaki-sensei's drawings. Fans of Yoshizaki-sensei have reportedly said that 'this couldn't be Yoshizaki-sensei's art!' when the info on the anime was released.
  68.  
  69. Reporter: So such voices were made
  70.  
  71. Yaoyozoru: Yes, but Yoshizaki-sensei said that we needn't care too much about his art style. I was hoping that the anime would have anime like designs, and that's how we got thinking. Yoshizaki-sensei's original design had 3 heads height while the manga had 7-8 heads, so what should be done with the anime?
  72.  
  73. Reporter: And that's how the character proportion got decided?
  74.  
  75. Yaoyozoru: 7-8 head length isn't very suited for gags and it would look gross. On the other hand a 3 head proportion is simply too cute and couldn't carry itself seriously. That is why we've adopted the middle road as the current anime character design.
  76.  
  77. Kadokawa: It's easier for me to illustrate this with the figures that are made as prizes. Those figures are definitely deformed, the reason being that I couldn't just take Yoshizaki-san's design and make it work in 3D because it's got to look cute as an object so we had to do make them like that.
  78.  
  79. That is why when we have decided to do the anime in 3D, we had to design the characters for the sake of their cuteness and for them to move easily.
  80.  
  81. Reporter: So when did Fukuhara-san got to making the anime?
  82.  
  83. Yaoyozoru: That's a bit of a mess. It wasn't really the anime but rather the PV (promotional video) at first. We were asked to do this PV even before having settled on which company should make the anime, so I decided that we'll make this in 3DCG.
  84.  
  85. Reporter: So that's how it was. So what was the timeframe?
  86.  
  87. Yaoyozoru: If I remember correctly, it was around February-March of 2014, but I was working on 'Minarai Diva (みならいディーバ)' so there as a real scheduling conflict. The modeling completely ate up the time. It really was a haphazard time I think (laughs)
  88.  
  89. > "Outsider work OK?" Why be this lenient?
  90.  
  91. Reporter: Who was responsible for the character design of the TV anime version?
  92.  
  93. Kadokawa: It's a case of 'No name' when it comes to Kemono Friends. We didn't have any fixed character setting in advance, and we were open to anyone to draw them. One example is the 'secondary creation guidelines' on the website. This was decided since the beginning of the project as we wanted this world to expand and allow people who like the work to make content freely.
  94.  
  95. Reporter: I thought that it's very unique that you give nods to secondary derived work. Can the fans freely make work even if they aren't professionals?
  96.  
  97. Kadokawa: Yes. Kemono Friend's theme is 'Animal', so nobody could really say that they own the copyright, and animals wouldn't come after us for using their likeness. (laughs)
  98.  
  99. Reporter: I suppose you're right (laughs)
  100.  
  101. Kadokawa: As such, this world will only get wider if fans created more Friends that have yet to become friends, which I think is fun.
  102.  
  103. Yaoyozoru: Kind of like Kinnikuman.
  104.  
  105. (all laughs)
  106.  
  107. Kadokawa: We really want to do that. Wouldn't be interesting if your submission got admitted and and featured?
  108.  
  109. Reporter: Nothing makes a fan happier! Please make it happen! A lot of fans have already drawn fanarts on image hosting sites such as Pixiv. Have you been looking at the response?
  110.  
  111. Kadokawa: I've been looking since 2014 when the project was first started. This surge took me by surprise.
  112.  
  113. Reporter: What kind of reaction did you get when the project first launched?
  114.  
  115. Kadokawa: In those days, we only get one or two pieces occasionally from people who liked Kemomo Friends , but it exploded after the anime got going, and that's when the pros started to draw related arts. I am very grateful for this.
  116.  
  117. Reporter: Any work that sticks out in your mind after having seen so many fanart that have gotten posted?
  118.  
  119. Kadokawa: I've only done two retweets on the official Twitter site as of this moment.
  120.  
  121. Reporter: Only two? What sort of work are they?
  122.  
  123. Kadokawa: A work has to not only be well drawn, but it has to convey the world view of Kemono Friends and for us to recognize that it comes from someone who understand KemoFure for us to retweet it.
  124.  
  125. Reporter: Those who got retweeted would be extremely happy! The official account generally don't retweet fanart.
  126.  
  127. Kadokawa: How should I word this, It could count as a strength of our work if we can make everyone understand that we support derived work because our original source was all about 'animals' and anyone can come in to participate.
  128.  
  129.  
  130. Reporter: So aside from illustrations, I would think that secondary creation includes many other works. Are other works okay too?
  131.  
  132. Kadokawa: Yes. If someone wishes to draw comic, they they can go knock themselves out.
  133.  
  134. Yaoyozoru: There's something that does surprise me. KemoFure only doujin events have already been decided. You can't host an exclusive event if there's not enough participating circles. Is everyone involved OK?
  135.  
  136. (all laughs)
  137.  
  138. Reporter: It's not just illustration and manga, but there's also cosplayers who are getting involved.
  139.  
  140. Kadokawa: More will come in the future.
  141.  
  142. Yaoyozoru: I think plenty of people have been clued in on this, but the costume aren't going to be real hard to pull off although some Friends would expose a bit more skin, but plenty of them won't.
  143.  
  144. Kadokawa: I think cosplay is a way to express the work through secondary creation, so it's all good if everyone can get excited.
  145.  
  146. Yaoyozoru: By the way, when you look at the fans' comments on the net, you see that it a 'work that can be shown to children' or that 'it's a work that can be broadcasted on the NHK'. So Kemono Friends is something that can be seen by young and old. I would hope that people who's making doujin work would put that into consideration when they have their fun and make their work.
  147.  
  148. Reporter: So anything that caught your attention from the fans' comments?
  149.  
  150. Yaoyozoru: I have not checked everything, but as far as I can see on the net, there's some people who've visit the zoo. As we haven't much in the way of merchandise right now, fans' desire to shop are all getting channeled to the zoo.
  151.  
  152. (all laughs)
  153.  
  154. Kadokawa: We've had the goal of "we want to get you interested in real animals" when we first launched "Kemono Friends." So it makes us really glad that people really have gone to visit zoos. As said by Fukuhara-san, I am happy to see that our wish is coming true bit by bit. Althought I am worried that the influx of visitors would inconvenient the zoos and the animals.
  155.  
  156. Yaoyozoru: That's right. Although it may sound a bit nagging, but I would like the fans to observe the rules. Please don't climb over the fence or knock on the glass windows just to take photos. You will still have fun even if you are going to the zoo just to see the animals.
  157.  
  158. > Does "Kemono Friends" care about the business aspect of the project?
  159.  
  160. Reporter: Can we call it a commercial success now that it's the talk of the town?
  161.  
  162. Kadokawa: Well, that's... we really didn't think much on the commercialization when I look back at it as a commercial product.
  163.  
  164. Yaoyorozu: I think that you'd get the picture when you see the credits that we have a ton of producers.
  165.  
  166. Reporter: That worried me a bit. It's a project with a lot pf people involved. Just what did those producers do?
  167.  
  168. Yaoyorozu: These people are tasked with a myriad of tasks, yet even with this many people, nobody's really thinking about the commercialization...
  169.  
  170. Kadokawa: So you say that... "I didn't think about the business side properly" (laughs). I just liked to create since I've been an editor for many years. I wonder if we can do a Japari Park theme with Universal Studios Japan or something like that and let the others do all the work
  171.  
  172. (all laugh loudly)
  173.  
  174. Yaoyorozu: I think that various good swill come out after the end of the broadcast. So please let me leave a note. "To the fans, please save your dough when that time comes!" (laughs)
  175.  
  176. Reporter: I will definitely write that down (laughs)
  177.  
  178. Kadokawa: We got scolded with "why don't you have mail-order" when we ran a KemoFure shop at UDX in Akihabara in the past, although that was an idea that's aimed to cater to the fans who have come to the shop.
  179.  
  180. Reporter: I see, so really taking care of the fans that came out to the field.
  181.  
  182. Kadokawa: However that's just in Tokyo, so I am sorry for the ones that live further out. I really would like to have it go around like some sort of a moving zoo, but that costs money... the merchandise that will come on sale this spring will be available in Animate across the nation, and that it'll be available by mail order, so please feel free to use these means.
  183.  
  184.  
  185. Reporter: But still wonder if it's possible to move the project without thinking about the business side?
  186.  
  187. Kadokawa: How did we even get this far? (laughs) This is a project that sells characters, so we thought that we can make this work with this character.
  188.  
  189. Yaoyorozu: Kaji-san and Mine-sensei were at the heart of the project on the creative side right from the start. There were several people on the business side, but they keep changing. So about the only person who could really understand the appeal of Kemono Friends on the committee would be Kaji-san
  190.  
  191. Kadokawa: Maybe the reason why I could keep going is because I believe in the charm of the characters. Just having that made me feel that this will definitely work.
  192.  
  193. > What were the signs for this runaway hit?
  194.  
  195. Reporter: It's been a few years since the project was planned. Did you get a sense as to when this was really gaining traction back then?
  196.  
  197. Kadokawa: There wasn't any topic back then to note.
  198.  
  199. Reporter: What about when the game was launched?
  200.  
  201. Kadokawa: Unfortunately 'Kemono Friends' didn't get any discussion on its launch date. A lot of new game comes out on the smartphone every month, and Kemono Friends was just one of them, so we had a quiet launch.
  202.  
  203. Yaoyorozu: Although it was a subdued launch, I was please that we were received by enthusiastic fans at the time.
  204.  
  205. Reporter: There must have been some number of fans since the name of Yoshizaki Mine-sensei's attached to it.
  206.  
  207. Yaoyorozu: That may be true, but Yoshizaki-sensei had requested that "I don't want my name to appear". If you namedrop "Yoshizaki Mine", then you'd only grab the attention of the sensei, which would have been too bad.
  208.  
  209. Yaoyorozu: But dropping the name is necessary from a promotional hook perspective. Sensei had personally said that "I would like you to use the name if it helps to spread the IP, so you could say that our positions are reversed (from the normal scheme of things).
  210.  
  211. Kadokawa: Besides, although it's understandable that he said "don't show my name", the arts would've been a dead giveaway. So I asked him if we could "use your name just a little" and made up a title of "concept design" instead.
  212.  
  213. > "Kemono Friend" started from a zoo at Singapore?
  214.  
  215. Reporter: Does Yoshizaki Mine-sensei like animals?
  216.  
  217. Kadokawa: Yes, he loves them. "Kemono Friends" came about when Yoshizaki-sensei got the inspiration at Singapore's zoo. I've asked for a completely character when I wanted to do a project with Yoshizaki-sensei at the time.
  218.  
  219. Reporter: So that wasn't an animal?
  220.  
  221. Kadokawa: Yes. Just what would this IP be about took a lot of back and forth and Yoshizaki-san made up plenty of sketches based on our thoughts, and the project nudged along until one day when the teacher suddenly sad that "I've got it!" and I received an illustration with Serval on the page.
  222.  
  223. Reporter: How did Kaji-san react to that?
  224.  
  225. Kadokawa: "It's really good, let's work on this one." It is completely different from the initial concept by the way. (laughs)
  226.  
  227. Reporter: What kind of image did you have for the initial concept?
  228.  
  229. Kadokawa: I can't tell you (laugh), but I can say this. You know how that Kemono Friends is all girls? In the beginning it was going to have boys and girls, that was the plan.
  230.  
  231. Yaoyorozu: Serval Cat's profile has been raised significantly thanks to Yoshizaki-san's proposal for Kemono Friends. Normally you'd have a well known animal such as a Lion or Rabbit as the protagonist. I think it's interesting that he was exposed to various animals to give rise to this anime.
  232.  
  233. Reporter: There are other more minor animals who appear. Why take the trouble of introduction "Oriental small-clawed otter" instead of "Otter"?
  234.  
  235. Kadokawa: Because we wanted to share knowledge about animals with everyone. There are many kinds of Rhinoceros such as the "black rhinoceros" or "white rhino" or "there's 4 kinds of zebra stripes" for example. The animals are divined finely so that you can develop more interests with respective animals while you are looking at Kemono Friends.
  236.  
  237. Yaoyorozu: This is why that we would display even the family and genus when we introduce a character in the anime. ネコ目 (cat type or cat eyes) and 食肉目 (Carnivora) denote the same thing, but I got them messed up and Kaji-san chewed me out on that. "those two are the same thing, learn that!!"
  238.  
  239. Kadokawa: We are all learning as we go. If we found some interesting tidbits then we either use the anime or the "KemoFure guide" to share what we've learned. We really are having fun through 'animals'.
  240.  
  241. Reporter: Tsuchinoko appared in KemoFure. The guide also include the "Jinmengyo" (man-faced fish). Is that an an animal? I don't think it exists.
  242.  
  243. Kadokawa: What of it? It could be out there somewhere. The original idea is an animal, so I think anything goes. Never mind Tsuchinoko, Kemono Friends ahve collaborated with Ghost in the Shell at that. Even Tachikomas are turned into girls and are Friends.
  244.  
  245. (all laugh)
  246.  
  247. Kadokawa: Although the protagonists are animals, but variations on this is possible. This world is said to allow for many kind of friends.
  248.  
  249. Yaoyorozu: I am thankful for having Sandstar being this ambiguous thing.
  250.  
  251. > Getting to the bottom to the mystery behind 'Sandstar' and 'Japari Bun'
  252.  
  253. Reporter: I think a lot of people want to know. Just what is this "sandstar?"
  254.  
  255. Yaoyorozu: Well, Yoshizaki-sensei never really had the concept documented. It's not just this, the fans have been answering just "what is Japari bun", just what kind of food is it and what are they eating.
  256.  
  257. Reporter: Friends are eating this tasty stuff in the midnight time slot, so anyone would get curious!
  258.  
  259. Yaoyorozu: We thought about how to capture the likeness of animals since we are making this anime about animals, and what we found from basic documentary is that we mostly get images of reproduction, hunting, eating and group life.
  260.  
  261. Reporter: It can be said that animal documentaries are really about those scenes.
  262.  
  263. Yaoyorozu: Ain't that true? Take the more famous Gnus. It's almost always in herd. You rarely see a single Gnu.
  264.  
  265. Reporter: Actually the first time that I've heard of it as a single 'Gnu'. (laughs)
  266.  
  267. Yaoyorozu: But herd behavior and reproduction aren't doable with Kemono Friends, so that's to say that those methods to depict animal behavior are taken from us.
  268.  
  269. Kadokawa: It's not just in the anime, but the situation's the same for the animal guide. You'd know after reading it that we try not to get in the specifics on the gender differences, the mating matters and dietary concerns as much as possible while having to introduce the animal. It's tough going.
  270.  
  271. Yaoyorozu: But even so, Kemono Friends still need to show the animal characteristics of the Friends, so we had to closely at animal behaviors. One example is in how the Oriental small-clawed otter was playing with rocks. This is something that the genuine item does and the people who's watching the anime may go "why is it tossing these around?" and they would go and look this up, and they would discover that "they really do this!" in real life and be pleasantly surprised. That scene represents the "Oriental small-clawed otterness".
  272.  
  273. Kadokawa: There's someone who actually wondered "what's so fun about tossing these stones back and forth?" (laugh) But animals really do get obsessed with things that we wouldn't comprehend, and we wanted to express this.
  274.  
  275. Yaoyorozu: Serval-chan's jumps when she escaped from the Cerulean in episode 1 was modeled after the movement of the real Serval cat.
  276.  
  277. Kadokawa: This anime has paid a lot of attention in the details, and we think you would enjoy it more if you've come to notice them.
  278.  
  279. Yaoyorozu: There seems to be some enthusiastic fans who watch the same episode over and over again just to pick up on the details, and that's why we put in the attention to do this. I am glad that they've noticed.
  280.  
  281. > The versatility of Director Tatsuki, who's involved in everything
  282.  
  283. Reporter: Director Tatsuki is a stickler when it comes to animal behavior. Does he like animals?
  284.  
  285. Yaoyorozu: he seems to have raised animal starting as a kid.
  286.  
  287. Kadokawa: Since he lived right next to animals, so he's had an affinity for them to start. He never ceased to learn about animals while working on Kemono Friends.
  288.  
  289. Reporter: I'd think that it'd be a lot of work to pick up on even the small habits of animals.
  290.  
  291. Kadokawa: I didn't get that vibe from him. I think he's just making something that he likes. I don't think he has that "I have to do this because someone may be interested in it" mindset.
  292.  
  293. Yaoyorozu: Besides that, Director Tatsuki always does CG work for 5 days of the week regardless of whether or not if he's busy, and then he does more CG for the next 2 days as his hobby. Any time I see Tatsuki-kun I see him working on CG. This may look incredulous to others, but it doesn't seem to be hard for him (laughs)
  294.  
  295. Reporter: Doing CG all the time? (laugh)
  296.  
  297. Yaoyorozu: All the time. Looking at that genius at work spending everyday on end working on CG and being impossibly thin. It makes people worry if he's eating properly, but he's one of those guys that doesn't get fat no matter how much he eats.
  298.  
  299. Kadokawa: I was worried about that. I keep saying that "you had better order something " every time I meet him. I've forcibly ordered Pilaf this one time for him. (laugh)
  300.  
  301. Reporter: So just how much has Director Tatsuki taken on? It feels like it's a lot.
  302.  
  303. Kadokawa: Basically everything except for the voice acting?
  304.  
  305. (all laughs)
  306.  
  307.  
  308. Yaoyorozu: Well, to put it in another word, all 12 episodes were directed by him. About 99% of the contents were done by him and Yoshizaki-sensei. The script and the contents were all on his shoulders. Since I've looked at the screenplay of the story, I can deduce the work put in. For example, even one layout will cut the animation down by omitting the lower body, but just having upper body shot is boring, so we had to plan out where you show and where you omit the lower body shot so as to not let the scene look unnatural. Making the storyboard, self-dub in order to pan it out, preproduction, production and post-production are all done by him.
  309.  
  310. Reporter: That makes him a superman to do it all alone.
  311.  
  312. Yaoyorozu: He made full use of his experience from Tesagure Tesabu. Things are much easier with just 1 person in order to make changes to the script as opposed to having to meet up with a bunch of people on the plus side so you can immediately get to work.
  313.  
  314. Yaoyorozu: It's not just Tatsuki-kun. The Musical director was also very easy to work with and has really helped. There's this instance where a sudden change was called for just before airing and he still happily accepted. Moreover, the rapport with Uchida Aya was great from the experience working together in "Ai Mai Mi". It could be said that Kemono Friends came about from one miracle overlapping on top of another.
  315.  
  316. Kadokawa: There's quite a bit of change to the script due to the uniqueness of voice actresses' voices so that we can make the characters stand out more.
  317.  
  318. Reporter: What kind of hobby does Director Tatsuki have aside from animals?
  319.  
  320. Yaoyorozu: Is it photography for art references? He always takes photos the moment he spots something interesting no matter where he goes.
  321.  
  322. Kadokawa: "Taking a photo~"
  323.  
  324. Yaoyorozu: He snaps a photo of the cityscape when he goes to the top of buildings, goes to take photos of machinery when he heads to the factory. Everything that he does looks to be for the sake of making the anime.
  325.  
  326. Kadokawa: Anyways, I think that it is better for the mind to make things that "they'd like to see themselves" than a case of "they must do it!" . Kemono Friends is exactly that, being a work that we've earnestly made and being enjoyed by so many has really made us truly happy.
  327.  
  328. > "Kemono Friends" is an anime that evolved like the Galapagos
  329.  
  330. Reporter: Please tell us about the story. Did you think about the climax and whatnot?
  331.  
  332. Kadokawa: With Kemono Friends, there was no "somehow has to die here', 'here's rivalry' or 'here's romance'.
  333.  
  334. Yaoyorozu: Because the idea was that "Creativity comes first".
  335.  
  336. Reporter: When was the story of "Kemono Friends" decided?
  337.  
  338. Yaoyorozu: The anime production got going prior to the forming of the committee and the business side started to get going.
  339.  
  340. Reporter: I see. Normally you start making the show after the committee's been formed.
  341.  
  342. Kadokawa: That's true, but we are different. If we got experienced veteran who've worked on numerous anime, then production wouldn't go smoothly because we would be having meeting after meeting where we talk nonstop and adjust the plot endlessly. If that happens, then it's easy to imagine that we'd wind up with a run of the mill animal anime.
  343.  
  344. Reporter: Would this have caught on if that were the case?
  345.  
  346. Kadokawa: I can't say if I really know, but I know that "Kemono Friends" came to where it is now thanks to having this unorthodox general production process.
  347.  
  348. Yaoyorozu: Or to put it in another word, "Kemono Friends" is a work that was made within a vacuum or maybe that it's "an anime that has evolved on the Galapagos" perhaps?
  349.  
  350. (all laughs)
  351.  
  352. Yaoyorozu: We at Yaoyorozu wanted a form a team that wouldn't just make the employees' passion cool off, and that's how we can quickly take ideas that came up from talking to Yoshizaki-san at coffee shop and put them into the anime. This couldn't really be done if the team is spanned across several companies.
  353.  
  354. Kadokawa: There's no original work for "Kemono Friends." Nobody can imagine what sort of anime this well be. The comic is about everyday lives and the game is focused on fight Cerulean. I don't think that anyone could have imagined what the anime's going to be about.
  355.  
  356. Reporter: So who thought about the story?
  357.  
  358. Kadokawa: The basic framework's all done by Yoshizaki-san. Director Tatsuki built on this skeleton and fills in the flesh. The story came about bit by bit while they they had fine with this back and forth, and there's no need for a draft. When was it that we actually said to the committee that "this is the story"?
  359.  
  360. Yaoyorozu: Maybe around the start of 2016. The series composition was pretty much done by then.
  361.  
  362. Reporter: That's just about a year ago.
  363.  
  364. Yaoyorozu: Since "Kemono Friends" is structured like a road trip where Kaban-chan and Serval-chan go to various places, the series repeat this cycle of encounter and parting with the guest animals every time.
  365.  
  366. Reporter: Just like how it's like with the broadcast.
  367.  
  368. Yaoyorozu: But you'd be left with just Kaban-chan and Serval-chan as the only two characters if you go with this flow. So that's why we've added Raccoon, Fennec and 'PPP' as characters that tied-in to those two. By doing that, Kaban-chan and Serval-chan would be the main axis which drives the story while Fennec and Raccoon along with PPP would go on the side in order to add more to the dramatic makeup to the whole story.
  369.  
  370. > The birth of Raccoon and Fennac's special corner.
  371.  
  372. It's a bit surprising that Raccoon and Fennec's corner were added later on.
  373.  
  374. Yaoyorozu: At the time we thought that it would just spice things up, but it unexpectedly turned out to be rahter innovative.
  375.  
  376. Kadokawa: That's right. It was thanks to having Raccon and Fennec that we get to see characters that have appeared in the last round to show up once more.
  377.  
  378. Reporter: Who thought up the segment with Raccon and Fennec? I'd think that I would want to use the 3DCG model as many times as possible.
  379.  
  380. Yaoyorozu: Tatsuki-kun's the one who came up with it. It'd be such a waste to not put the models to use.
  381.  
  382. Reporter: And to see them appear like that. This direction could be called innovative.
  383.  
  384. Yaoyorozu: Well it all worked out in the end!
  385.  
  386. (All laugh)
  387.  
  388. Kadokawa: Originally we thought that it'd be great if we can include as many characters as possible, but we had limits as to our budget and time in order to make this. Those Friends who got featured got lucky but we feel sorry for those who haven't. We really want the whole cast to show up. Maybe we can make this happen if we can keep this popularity up for 10 years?
  389.  
  390. Yaoyorozu: That's right. Tatsuki-kun felt the same as well. I was really taken aback when I saw Tatsuki-kun's composition for the first time as there's about 40 characters who would appear in the show. I asked him then "is this even sane?" (laughs)
  391.  
  392. (all laugh)
  393.  
  394.  
  395. Reporter: How did the characters of "Kemono Friends" keep increasing?
  396.  
  397. Kadokawa: "There are about 100 characters" when we started the Kemono Friends project with Yoshizaki-san, but Yoshizaki-san got more and more into it so the number just keep going up.
  398.  
  399. Reporter: That's a good story. It's kind of funny to say, but it feels good that he's treating drawing not as a job but rather that's drawing because he wants to draw!
  400.  
  401. Kadokawa: That's right. He can send 4 a week when he's in tip top shape. There's likely going to be over 200 when we've decided to make the official guidebook with the BD. Although this is coming all from the theme of animal, it's rather unprecedented that someone would have done that many characters by himself, so we joked if he should consider applying for a Guinness world record on that.
  402.  
  403. Reporter: Are the characters all new characters?
  404.  
  405. Kadokawa: There are friends who are redesigns, work done by others or the ones that aren't in the game. Some are to better express the characteristics of the original animals. There's brand new friends added as well. Some girls will be included for the first time in the guidebook, so please look forward to it!
  406.  
  407. > "Kemono Friends" is an anime that evolved like the Galapagos
  408.  
  409. Reporter: Please tell us about the story. Did you think about the climax and whatnot?
  410.  
  411. Kadokawa: With Kemono Friends, there was no "somehow has to die here', 'here's rivalry' or 'here's romance'.
  412.  
  413. Yaoyorozu: Because the idea was that "Creativity comes first".
  414.  
  415. Reporter: When was the story of "Kemono Friends" decided?
  416.  
  417. Yaoyorozu: The anime production got going prior to the forming of the committee and the business side started to get going.
  418.  
  419. Reporter: I see. Normally you start making the show after the committee's been formed.
  420.  
  421. Kadokawa: That's true, but we are different. If we got experienced veteran who've worked on numerous anime, then production wouldn't go smoothly because we would be having meeting after meeting where we talk nonstop and adjust the plot endlessly. If that happens, then it's easy to imagine that we'd wind up with a run of the mill animal anime.
  422.  
  423. Reporter: Would this have caught on if that were the case?
  424.  
  425. Kadokawa: I can't say if I really know, but I know that "Kemono Friends" came to where it is now thanks to having this unorthodox general production process.
  426.  
  427. Yaoyorozu: Or to put it in another word, "Kemono Friends" is a work that was made within a vacuum or maybe that it's "an anime that has evolved on the Galapagos" perhaps?
  428.  
  429. (all laughs)
  430.  
  431. Yaoyorozu: We at Yaoyorozu wanted a form a team that wouldn't just make the employees' passion cool off, and that's how we can quickly take ideas that came up from talking to Yoshizaki-san at coffee shop and put them into the anime. This couldn't really be done if the team is spanned across several companies.
  432.  
  433. Kadokawa: There's no original work for "Kemono Friends." Nobody can imagine what sort of anime this well be. The comic is about everyday lives and the game is focused on fight Cerulean. I don't think that anyone could have imagined what the anime's going to be about.
  434.  
  435. Reporter: So who thought about the story?
  436.  
  437. Kadokawa: The basic framework's all done by Yoshizaki-san. Director Tatsuki built on this skeleton and fills in the flesh. The story came about bit by bit while they they had fine with this back and forth, and there's no need for a draft. When was it that we actually said to the committee that "this is the story"?
  438.  
  439. Yaoyorozu: Maybe around the start of 2016. The series composition was pretty much done by then.
  440.  
  441. Reporter: That's just about a year ago.
  442.  
  443. Yaoyorozu: Since "Kemono Friends" is structured like a road trip where Kaban-chan and Serval-chan go to various places, the series repeat this cycle of encounter and parting with the guest animals every time.
  444.  
  445. Reporter: Just like how it's like with the broadcast.
  446.  
  447. Yaoyorozu: But you'd be left with just Kaban-chan and Serval-chan as the only two characters if you go with this flow. So that's why we've added Raccoon, Fennec and 'PPP' as characters that tied-in to those two. By doing that, Kaban-chan and Serval-chan would be the main axis which drives the story while Fennec and Raccoon along with PPP would go on the side in order to add more to the dramatic makeup to the whole story.
  448.  
  449. > The birth of Raccoon and Fennac's special corner.
  450.  
  451. It's a bit surprising that Raccoon and Fennec's corner were added later on.
  452.  
  453. Yaoyorozu: At the time we thought that it would just spice things up, but it unexpectedly turned out to be rahter innovative.
  454.  
  455. Kadokawa: That's right. It was thanks to having Raccon and Fennec that we get to see characters that have appeared in the last round to show up once more.
  456.  
  457. Reporter: Who thought up the segment with Raccon and Fennec? I'd think that I would want to use the 3DCG model as many times as possible.
  458.  
  459. Yaoyorozu: Tatsuki-kun's the one who came up with it. It'd be such a waste to not put the models to use.
  460.  
  461. Reporter: And to see them appear like that. This direction could be called innovative.
  462.  
  463. Yaoyorozu: Well it all worked out in the end!
  464.  
  465. (All laugh)
  466.  
  467. Kadokawa: Originally we thought that it'd be great if we can include as many characters as possible, but we had limits as to our budget and time in order to make this. Those Friends who got featured got lucky but we feel sorry for those who haven't. We really want the whole cast to show up. Maybe we can make this happen if we can keep this popularity up for 10 years?
  468.  
  469. Yaoyorozu: That's right. Tatsuki-kun felt the same as well. I was really taken aback when I saw Tatsuki-kun's composition for the first time as there's about 40 characters who would appear in the show. I asked him then "is this even sane?" (laughs)
  470.  
  471. (all laugh)
  472.  
  473.  
  474. Reporter: How did the characters of "Kemono Friends" keep increasing?
  475.  
  476. Kadokawa: "There are about 100 characters" when we started the Kemono Friends project with Yoshizaki-san, but Yoshizaki-san got more and more into it so the number just keep going up.
  477.  
  478. Reporter: That's a good story. It's kind of funny to say, but it feels good that he's treating drawing not as a job but rather that's drawing because he wants to draw!
  479.  
  480. Kadokawa: That's right. He can send 4 a week when he's in tip top shape. There's likely going to be over 200 when we've decided to make the official guidebook with the BD. Although this is coming all from the theme of animal, it's rather unprecedented that someone would have done that many characters by himself, so we joked if he should consider applying for a Guinness world record on that.
  481.  
  482. Reporter: Are the characters all new characters?
  483.  
  484. Kadokawa: There are friends who are redesigns, work done by others or the ones that aren't in the game. Some are to better express the characteristics of the original animals. There's brand new friends added as well. Some girls will be included for the first time in the guidebook, so please look forward to it!
  485.  
  486. > 'Sugo-i!' and 'Tanoshi-i', the VA's voices that are stuck in your ears
  487.  
  488. Reporter: "Sugo-i" and "Tanoshi-i" have becoming trending buzzwords. How did you decide on the voice actresses for the lines?
  489.  
  490. Kadokawa: When we've decided to make the anime, we thought that 'we should do a small event as well' over the social like how that there's a public square in the zoo. So we ended up choosing the VA who could go, being mostly the fresh new VA, which would thought would be good if they can grow along with this anime.
  491.  
  492. Yaoyorozu: I conveyed my thoughts to Aoni production that was tasked with scoring the game audio at the time, and we had them lend their expertise for the anime as well.
  493.  
  494. Why did you decide on Ozaki Yuka-san for the role of Serval-chan?
  495.  
  496. Yaoyorozu: Out of a combination of various reasons such as voice and personality and so forth. I've even asked the VA to draw during the audition, and Nemoto Ruka-san (Emperor Penguin) came up with some really fitting work.
  497.  
  498. Kadokawa: I thought of "why are you having them drawing things?" at the time. How is that going to help?
  499.  
  500. Yaoyorozu: Well nothing really got used. (laughs) But you never know.
  501.  
  502. (all laugh)
  503.  
  504.  
  505. Yaoyorozu: I've come to understand a few things from the auditioning round, such as that Aiba Aina-san really is none other than the Rockhopper Penguin herself. It was a perfect fit. Kemono Friends's casting is more dependent on the individual personalty than sheer skill. Reason being is that the fans will not be able to relate the voice to the character if there's too much of a gap between the two.
  506.  
  507. Reporter: So does this mean that everyone on the cast who's appeared in KemoFure are all similar to the animals that they play as? (laughs)
  508.  
  509. Yaoyorozul: I can't say that for all of them but PPP do resemble the penguins quite a bit.
  510.  
  511. Reporter: Then how about the case of Kaneda Tomoko-san (Toki) and Kobayashi Yuu (Tsuchinoko) who played some really shocking characters?
  512.  
  513. Yaoyorozu: Kaneda said that "she'll make it absolutely interesting". Toki had terrible singing as her trait within the game, so I wanted that to be done properly. You'd be calling that as hammy acting and finding it boring if it's a song for vocally challenged.
  514.  
  515. Reporter: Toki's song was shocking.
  516.  
  517. Yaoyorozu: The best part is that the sense of 'space' which Director Tatsuki had wanted to express was fully conveyed. It's a bit noisy and not caught in the moment, which only Kaneda Tomoko-san could deliver. The same goes with Kobayashi'san with Tsuchinoko.
  518.  
  519. Kadokawa: That was really interesting. I really am floored by the voice actresses who can really bring these characters to love and make them shine.
  520.  
  521. Reporter: So how does it feel for you, Kaji-san, who's been supporting the project from the start to see these characters coming to live on the screen in an anime?
  522.  
  523. Kadokawa: Although we had voice dubbing in the game, the result's mostly very structured fixed lines, so there's not much room to really act the roles out. However, this room widens in the anime and the characters move about. "The pros are amazing" is what ended up filling my mind even if this is a real run of the mill impression.
  524.  
  525. Yaoyorozu: Once again, the Voice actresses are amazing.
  526.  
  527. Kadokawa: We are producers who are making "Kemono Friends" couldn't help but to image that "this character probably would have this voice" in our mind, although it isn't concrete. When we meet with the voice actresses in the studio during the anime recording, we get a lot of "let's change the feel of this" from the voice actresses.
  528.  
  529. Reporter: So there are ideas from the voice actresses as well.
  530.  
  531. Kadokawa: As such, when you hear the voices, you'd find the characters being more attractive.
  532.  
  533. Reporter: I'd think that Kaji-san would have some mental image in his mind from the moment that he sees Yoshizaki-san's illustrations.
  534.  
  535. Kadokawa: But when I heard the voices and when the Voice actresses give their opinion, I would start to ask "Um? That might be better". I would of course still pull things back if we are really deviating from the original image.
  536.  
  537. Yaoyorozu: This production team is not one that likes to play strictly by the book. The voice and the acting are different things. For a voice actress, she'd have some idea about what sort of voice that would appeal to the fans. It isn't hard to make that sort of voice; any greenhorn VA could do this. Acting is another story. Only a veteran voice actress could really bring that role to life.
  538.  
  539. Reporter: So you can't just leave it with Friends having cute voices?
  540.  
  541. Yaoyorozu: Let's put it this way. I only give the role for key characters within each episode to those who I've had the experience of working with and you can depend on their acting skills. Take for example Terui Haruka-san (Hippo) and Tsuda Minami (Jaguar), and I'd ask for the younger voice actresses to take on the role of other characters who appear in the story. That way the veteran will cover for the novice should there be some problem, and things go more smoothly that way.
  542.  
  543. Reporter: I see! So the placement of the character casting also had this consideration.
  544.  
  545. Yaoyorozu: That may have been true, but it looks like that we were worried over nothing. For example, Kondo Rena-san who played the role of the Oriental small-clawed otter gave a great performance that we really didn't be concerned with at all, and it's a great combination.
  546.  
  547. Kadokawa: I haven't spoken to her personally, but I feel that given that they aren't acting out human beings, they needn't approach the characters as human anime characters. So everyone, ' is this what the animal is like?' I think that they really considered this and this is how they can put on such great acts.
  548.  
  549. Reporter: There's no Highschooler or elementary schooler VA in Kemono Friends.
  550.  
  551. Kadokawa: The voices of elementary schooler's kind of the same to most people's minds. High pitches, slurred tongue that sounds kind of gross coming from adults. That's not too difficult to do, but things are different here. We'd be asking you do to the voice of a Oriental small-clawed otter out of the blue.
  552.  
  553. (all laugh)
  554.  
  555. Kadokawa: Ori... oriental... otter, was it? Most people would be troubled with this.
  556.  
  557. Reporter: That'd really pose a problem (laughs) There's no real answer to base that on because the otter doesn't talk.
  558.  
  559. Kadokawa: That's why everyone ended up making up their original voices, and that's the result in the anime that's now airing this very moment. By the way, Kondo-san may appear to be completely in the groove, but she hasn't even graduated from high school.
  560.  
  561. Yaoyorozu: She's wearing her sailor fuku when she came in to do the recording. She's just finished her exams.
  562.  
  563. Kadokawa: Please keep an eye out for her. She'll be a hit one day.
  564.  
  565.  
  566. Reporter: I can see on the net where people commented that 'the voice of Seval wouldn't get out of my head'. I think that the VA's acting skills are related to this, but was this planned from the get-go?
  567.  
  568. Kadokawa: Thank you very much, but that's not something you can plan for. (laughs) There were hiccups on the scene and we've even had recording that were put off and dragged on for a while. The result of this great voices are to the credit of the voice actress' hard work.
  569.  
  570. Yaoyorozu: Aren't cats rather fickle animals? That's why I find Serval's expressionless "fu-n" voice to be a great fit. However, there was that scene in episode 3 where Serval got rammed by the bus and she lets out a low pitched grunt, which was really gave something that puts out a 'laugh' over.
  571.  
  572. Reporter: Seeing her suddenly get hit and go flying was quite interesting!
  573.  
  574. Yaoyorozu: But it's kind of hard for a girl to make that low pitched grunt because normally a girl wouldn't have been hit like that, so we still had her do a cute Uuu~ noise initially.
  575.  
  576. Kadokawa: We didn't have any line during that scene in the script, but when we were watching the scene, someone suggested that "it might be better to add a voice in to convey this more realistically", so we hastily put it in.
  577.  
  578. So there's such last minute changes to the script.
  579.  
  580. Kadokawa: It's not just that. We made quite a few changes (to the script) in order to better fit the picture and to give better sense of presence to the story.
  581.  
  582. > When did the trending sign appear? A look back from the anime getting green-lit to live broadcast
  583.  
  584. Reporter: Looking back at the time when anime was first announced till the point of actual airing. Anything really left an impression on you?
  585.  
  586. Kadokawa: The anime was announced on March-april of 2016 and that's when the game switched to a totally free to play model, which is when the visual project got announced.
  587.  
  588. Reporter: Thinking back to the broadcast date of January 2017, that notice was rather early.
  589.  
  590. Kadokawa: The actual announcement of TV anime came on July 2016. We held the "KemoFure Shop" and "Collab Cafe" at Akihabara to encourage the fans. That's when the official merchandises were first sold.
  591.  
  592. Reporter: How did the KemoFure get received?
  593.  
  594. Kadokawa: Dedicated fans came far and wide to frequent the shop, and we are very grateful for that. The Kemono Friend community is very kind and warm. It is thanks to their nonstop support that we have been able to continue until this point. We've been told of "stupid admin" "we can't help it because there's Serval though". (laughs)
  595.  
  596. Reporter: Were the people kind to everyone because the subject's about animals?
  597.  
  598. Kadokawa: And when we resumed the KemoFure shop two months later for the Penguin's debut, leaking info bit by bit. It felt as if that I was really stingy with the new info, but there's so few people involved, and besides, this isn't my main line of work.
  599.  
  600. Reporter: Of course not. The Editor in chief couldn't be so unoccupied at that (laughs)
  601.  
  602. Kadokawa: But I do love "Kemono Friends" personally. So I'd like to see it continue, if only just through doing things little by little. We wanted to show that we are continuing the project through showing new characters. In November 2016 we released the anime preview video, and by end of November we announced the cast. Criticism of how the "game cast and anime cast are different" came up at the time, but as we've said before, we have our reasons for that, we we had to soldier up quietly as such.
  603.  
  604. Reporter: You were prepping for the anime airing at the time, so it must have been hard, trying to trickle information down bit by bit. What was the public response at the time?
  605.  
  606. Kadokawa: Still, the number of Twitters that we got were just at 5000 to 6000. There weren't much growth from the time when the game's live. Not only that, we started to get the dismissive comments such as that "this weird work's coming out when the game's already closed shop", and we were getting noticed negatively.
  607.  
  608. Yaoyorozu: Normally you'd think that you are broadcasting the anime in order to promote for the game, which is a misconception that we woudln't be able to clear no matter how hard we try to explain. Moreover, the anime's advanced viewing as December 14th, which was just when the game service had ended. We didn't plan this out. It's sheer coincidence.
  609.  
  610. Kadokawa: Yep! Although people really tried to spin it that way even if were sheer coincidence.
  611.  
  612. Reporter: How was the result from the advanced screening?
  613.  
  614. Kadokawa: The advanced screening showed ep1 before it was edited, so some people might not understand what they were looking at. The venue was full thought. I remember that we got more audience than there were seats.
  615.  
  616. Yaoyorozu: That's becaue Uchida Aya-san and Sasaki Mikoi-san appeared and the cast fans came to the event.
  617.  
  618. Reporter: Then what was the reaction on just the anime and not the Voice actresses?
  619.  
  620. Yaoyorozu: Plenty of comments with "I just don't get it!"
  621.  
  622. (All laugh)
  623.  
  624. Yaoyorozu: But that's the point in time which really made us aware of where we stand. It's the same on NicoNico, where the initial reception was not very good. We begin to trend starting with episode 2 with the ED images and that's when people started to say" let's watch 3 episodes as well..." and that's when the general view of the show started to shift.
  625.  
  626. Kadokawa: That's pretty much the reason why the number of Twitter followers didn't really grow even after the anime went live. Although there's several anime that were aired during this season, I can't help but think that "I am jealous of those shows with a lot of followers" when I look at their official account. Look at how many retweets they get.
  627.  
  628. Reporter: That and this is an age where information spread easily...
  629.  
  630. Kadokawa: But I still hate having the work thought of as a "little known piece", so I tried my hardest to advertise it. I participated in Winter Comiket, put up posters over Rinkai line, and we got the ComiKet goods sold in 3 days thanks to you all, and the goods from KemoFure shop were getting popular. I believe that Kemono Friends is a show with potential, so it was really getting frustrating with "why hasn't it caught on?" So I kept thinking about this until the anime went live, and all I could do until that point was to wait and see.
  631.  
  632. > The reason why this is a hit- the creators have spread the love of animals to the fans!?
  633.  
  634. Reporter: And so the anime first aired on January 2017.
  635.  
  636. Kadokawa: Airing did occur, but episode 1 didn't stir any topic whatsoever. It's easier to look for it from the bottom when it comes to popularity ranking for the winter 2017 term.
  637.  
  638. Reporter: Then when did you realize that the show's caught on in popularity?
  639.  
  640. Kadokawa: I think it was when we see 「考察班」Examination group popping up on social media. When was that again?
  641.  
  642. Yaoyorozu: I think it was around the time when the ED was shown in ep2.
  643.  
  644. Kadokawa: I actually had a meeting with Fukuhara-san just before the airing of the ep2 (Jan 18) where I said that "I hope that the ED of the second episode would actually trend". It trended after we've had that chat, and that made me really glad.
  645.  
  646. Reporter: That's a phenomenon unique to the social media age.
  647.  
  648. Kadokawa: Those in the examination group came to put what we couldn't really express in words down for us and they spread it far and wide. Those who've read the tweets had a "I see" moment and gradually more and more people got interested. It was then that the official Twitter account's follower count grew.
  649.  
  650. Reporter: How much is the change in the number of followers?
  651.  
  652. Kadokawa: During ep2 we saw some sparks going off while ep3 is when the flame began to grow and ep4 is when the fire started to rage. The official account which only had 5000-6000 followers suddenly gained about 1000 fans per day.
  653.  
  654. Reporter: Allow me to use that term "Sugo-i!"
  655.  
  656. Kadokawa: And the number of followers exploded to 10,000 within a week after the show took off. Besides that, this trend didn't let up and the growth from 10,000 to 20,000 seems to have gone by in an instant.
  657.  
  658. Yaoyorozu: There's something around 24,000 followers right now?
  659.  
  660. Kadokawa: I am not exactly sure, but normally speaking an anime's official twitter account would peak just before the anime airs, and then it will taper off. This is the opposite with Kemono Friends, which is increasing in count. This is the same as with the viewer count on Nico Nico Douga, where we are seeing an unprecedented change to the view curve across the board.
  661.  
  662. Yaoyorozu: The attendees of the committee meeting would always bring the metrics and data in, but everyone just said that the change in the data are just unheard of. (laughs)
  663.  
  664. Kadokawa: We've firmly believed that we were making something that we thought of as "good" work, but this experience has been quite a learning experience; how other people perceive your work isn't such a sure thing. Just letting information out is nowhere near effective.
  665.  
  666. Reporter: Those words from Mr.Kaji feel really heavy.
  667.  
  668. Kadokawa: We've had to manage the Twitter account carefully for the past year. We can't leak too much information as we are afraid that fans would lose interest even before the airing of the anime, yet we have to make sure that we are leaking out new info from time to time. How do we publish information using what we have really was quite difficult.
  669.  
  670. Yaoyorozu: I think so as well. Kemono Friends official account will retweet any info if we want the fans to see some animal info from all over Japan, which is something that the fans appreciate.
  671.  
  672. Kadokawa: Our work was about animal in the first place. Let's name an example. We retweeted the news about the how "The genes of Tasmanian Devil has evolved" where pwe shared photos taken from the Tama zoological park (in Tokyo). Things like this really satisfy the animal fans, and we've sent similar tweets like that. If the official account is only focused on events and merchandises or anime related info, then it'll be hard to spread itself out, and people won't find it interesting. It's been a real bliss that we were able to get an interest into something because of the characters and the anime and then having our horizon widened as a result.
  673.  
  674. Yaoyorozu: After seeing how the fans have warmly received us, we think that what we've wanted to express had really been "communicated properly". I am really thankful for the fans who's been with us since the very start, and those who have just joined KemoFure with the airing of the anime after taking a liking to the anime.
  675.  
  676. Reporter: You haven't deviated from wanting to show interesting things about 'animals.'
  677.  
  678. Yaoyorozu: I can't say this for sure since I haven't analyzed this, but I feel that anime fans really do value just how much love the creators have put in in the making of their work. This makes the operation of the account all the more difficult. For example mistyping of details could cause misunderstanding or that people ended up reading to much into the content and then coming to a negative explanation.
  679.  
  680. Reporter: Things that you can easily clarify face to face become much more abstract to communicate in letters.
  681.  
  682. Yaoyorozu: Although really digging deep is a way to enjoy something, and I am not going to deny that, but it really is baffling when the whole exercise deviates too much from the anime's content. For example, say that I have this plate of tofu that I'd like our guest to enjoy, so we delivered it to him and say that "this is our tofu", but the guest looks at it and go "this tofu's whiteness symbolizes the anxiety of our present era," all we can do about that is to go "is that so?" when most just wanted to have some tofu. Yet there's some guests who's really like that. Most people might simply think that "I suppose you can explain it like that?"
  683.  
  684. Reporter: How apt (laugh)
  685.  
  686.  
  687. Kadokawa: But everyone at the examination group have really looked at our work under a microscope, and they didn't let any corner go untouched, and then they share their interpretation openly. It is thanks to them that Kemono Friends have spared, they they can see more into the details and enjoy the work even more.
  688. On the other hand, I am still at a loss as to when did "Ureshi-!" and "Tnoshi-i!" get popular.
  689.  
  690. Reporter: I've been wanting to get to that. Did you purposely draft those words and aim for them to become trending?
  691.  
  692. Kadokawa: Nope. I don't get it. You are going have to ask the Director about that. I am no longer sure as to what's done on purpose and what's just sheer coincidence anymore (laugh).
  693.  
  694. Yaoyorozu: My orders from Yoshizaki-sensei was that "this has to be a work that you can show to children". The possibility for such was not zero because the broadcast time wasn't decided at the time, so we could've gotten an afternoon slot. That's why I said to Tatsuki-kun that we have to make this a healing work that's like a zoo. Don't go everywhere, just concentrate on how to really make the 30 minutes fun. That the labor along this direction bore fruit has taken in an unexpected turn of events makes me quite happy.
  695.  
  696. Reporter: So in the end, fans are going "tanoshi-" over your work as you've all intended.
  697.  
  698. Yaoyorozu: Serval-chan is a character who will look to all things positively, but I think that it's just Serval-chan speaking out whatever that comes to her mind, such as "Eh- you can read letters! Su-goi!"I wonder if we were just overly exhausted that we let it through.
  699.  
  700. Kadokawa: Serval does not understand the concept of words.
  701.  
  702. (All laugh)
  703.  
  704. Kadokawa: So come to think of it, just where did the words "Sugo-i" and "Tanoshii-" really become trending topics?
  705.  
  706. Yaoyorozu: It must have been Nico Nico Douga isn't it? Aikatsu! gave rise to the meme "うんうん、それもまたアイカツだね" ("yea yeah, that's like so Aikatsu!) *TL note: Aikatsu can mean cool, or the (大丈夫だ、問題ない) "Don't worry. It's not a problem." meme from El Shaddai.
  707. More importantly, you don't need to watch the "Aikatsu!" or having played "El Shaddai" to use those memes. Many people are using them because it's fun. This is the same for Kemono Friends, where people are just joining in and having fun right?
  708.  
  709. Kadokawa: I actually do care about how many people who's using "Sugo-i" who have actually seen the anime.
  710.  
  711. Reporter: You're hoping that those who haven't seen it would go see it!
  712.  
  713. Yaoyorozu: Of course we'd hope for that. It's all good if people ended up watching the show just because these words have been trending.
  714.  
  715. Reporter: So the summary to why "Sugo-i" and "tanoshii-" have trended would be that we can't really analyze this?
  716.  
  717. Kadokawa: I don't think you really can analyze it (laugh)
  718.  
  719. (all laughs)
  720.  
  721. > Wanting to make an anime that can be enjoyed by young and old -- Fukuhara
  722.  
  723. Reporter: I wanted to ask about the spread of "Sugo-i!" because there's some negative comments which stats that "this is all just stealth marketing".
  724.  
  725. Kadokawa: We really haven't done anything (laughs). We are so short on staff that we could barely cope with the anime.
  726.  
  727. Yaoyorozu: That's right. We aren't stealth marketers. and we are nowhere near the perfect stealth marketer. We basically tossed business matters aside, although now's the time to actually think about the business. (laughs)
  728.  
  729. Reporter: Thank you. If you think about it, had you the time to actually do stealth marketing, then you would've actually gone out to set up some signs at the zoo or something or sell more merchandises. (laughs)
  730.  
  731. Yaoyorozu: Everyone at the committee were just quietly watching this work, since nobody know what's going to become of this unprecedented production.
  732.  
  733. Kadokawa: Nobody really knows what to comment on when this anime didn't follow any set formula.
  734.  
  735. Reporter: If you were working on an Idol show or Sports show then people will have some idea, but you are working an 'animals'.
  736.  
  737. Yaoyorozu: Most people can get the picture if Kemono Friend is a show made for children that's airing by evening, but it runs at midnight. Everyone who was present in that conference had "???" written all over the face about that.
  738.  
  739. Kadokawa: I originally wanted a piece that only airs on Sunday morning, but it's hard to get that time slot, so it ended up being a late night anime. But we lucked out somehow and we were able to captivate the hearts of late night anime fans. Just one unexpected turn of event after the other.
  740.  
  741. Yaoyorozu: I was hoping even before broadcasting that Uncle Aikatsu! would show up. Aikatsu may have been for children, but it's had 4 cours by now. Althought the story keeps going, but there's no unexpected development where someone just suddenly dies, as the story keeps going in this peaceful world. The audience supported this anime as if they're watching their own daughter.
  742.  
  743. Reporter: It's true that Nichia doesn't have anything shocking in the story.
  744.  
  745. Yaoyorozu: I feel that we'd have an anime that both children and adults can enjoy if we can capture that same feel. We need to meld Tatsuki-kun's storytelling abilities to elements such as "sandstar" and "Cerulean" from Yoshizaki-sensei's settings. I think that what people will ultimately accept is a work where there some mystery to solve yet it is filled with warmth.
  746.  
  747. > Just what's with the idea of using those still images for the ED which is causing a stir?
  748.  
  749. Reporter: I wanted to ask about the ending. Whose idea was it?
  750.  
  751. Yaoyorozu: Obviously Tatsuki-kun's idea. When I've first gotten wind of it I was thinking "Pictures? Is it really ok when you are making an animation...?"
  752.  
  753. (all laugh)
  754.  
  755. Yaoyorozu: But since the very person said that "I'd like to do that" himself, we decided to go with the idea, and that's how the ending came to be. The committee may have gone with this decision because they think that Tatsuki-kun and Yoshizaki-sensei speak as one when it comes to this.
  756.  
  757. Kadokawa: Normally with anime, it essentially dies off after 1 cour. when it ends. Even if BD, merchandises and the original books sell well and that the oversea market's doing good, or even that you are working on the second season, it's still fated to just fade away. I don't really want that to happen with Kemono Friends.
  758.  
  759. Reporter: You want to make something fun that you can come back to a year, or even 10 years later?
  760.  
  761. Kadokawa: That's right. Although "just what you saying" may apply when the anime's still not done its run, and that even if Kemono Friends couldn't really avoid that fate, but my own view won't change. I still remember full well what I've said at the first meeting of the production committee.
  762.  
  763. Yaoyorozu: "This is what I've learned from Aikatsu! I've come to understand that Ozora Akari-chan and Dream Academy came about due to 'adult reasons', but I still have my mind on Hoshimiya Ichigo-chan... I know that you got to get rid of some characters, but deep down, "I wish that you'd just leave her alone."
  764.  
  765. (all laugh)
  766.  
  767. Kadokawa: If the flavor's too heavy then people would get tired of it rather quickly. We've decided very early on with Kemono Friends "we are not going to make a product that's just meant to be consumed" which we told the committee.
  768.  
  769. Yaoyorozu: We came up with a couple of main plot lines for Yoshizaki-sensei to read over and to make his pick at the time. We did have "late night moe anime" and "battle anime" and so forth at the time. All of those are taken out and the work becomes how it is today. There are plenty of templates for moe and battle anime, so it's easier for people to understand.
  770.  
  771. Reporter: Do you think that you will be trending if you've made a work out of such templates?
  772.  
  773. Kadokawa: I guess that it may trend that it would've been forgotten 3 months after the fact. That's what a "consumable anime" is. Granted, we've really talked up some steam but we still don't know what may become of Kemono Friends later on. (laughs)
  774.  
  775. Yaoyorozu: It'd be super embarrassing if we peaked by episode 6! (laughs) Although this is a real challenging age where information is free and we charge for an experience. The only information of any worth is one that comes with an experience, and no one would spend a dime if it's for pure info. This phenomenon right now is, is really a huge festival where everyone's going "wa-!" where the festival is the experience.
  776.  
  777. > Just what's inside the "Official Guidebook" which is getting a reprint!
  778.  
  779. Reporter: The way how the "Kemono Friends Official guide book with BD" is sold has caused quite a bit of ruckus. Not the traditional BD/DVD format, but as 'book', which is pretty unique.
  780.  
  781. Kadokawa: That was kind of a coincidence as well, and I was was the one who made the idea, and there's some circumstances behind that.
  782.  
  783. Yaoyorozu: That's right. Selling by cook came about from our marketing research, and it's to really bring about a change to the anime industry...
  784.  
  785. (all laugh)
  786.  
  787. Kadokawa: In recent times, we have found that disc media is not easy to sell. However, things that have bonus items such as say event admission tickets and so forth sells well right? Although in our case we'd like to sell content. So the result we've come to is to really move away from 'selling discs'. Another thing, when we shop at stores, we buy what looks 'interesting' on the shelves, so what sort of format would fit that distribution model? It was then that I've come to chose books, since I've ever only bought books.
  788.  
  789. Reporter: But you're going to need to write a book if you've chose a book.
  790.  
  791. Kadokawa: There's contents in Kemono Friends from Yoshizaki-san, which you can deliver to those interested if they're published in a book. It's be a waste to just let it sit and be buried, and the fans would be interested in them. Even so, we's made up our minds to sell books even before having obtained the permission to publish. (laughs) The KemoFure guide that we have up on the web was already going to be made into a book, which is why we've decided on choosing book as our medium.
  792.  
  793. Reporter: I'd want the "KemoFure Guide" as a gook!
  794.  
  795. Kadokawa: I'd be be happy if other fans would think the same as well. The price of discs with bonus contents have only gone up and up and I honestly don't know what it is that people are selling anymore. So I thought that instead of going for the added bonus (omake) business model, or that event based model, we should just go for getting one's money's worth instead. We might not have gone this route if we were all people of the anime industry. I'd thought "can I sell this as a book?" given that I've been making books all along at any rate.
  796.  
  797. Reporter: What kind of articles are in the book? There's not much information on the mail order sites and so forth...
  798.  
  799. Kadokawa: To all the fans, we are sorry to keep you waiting and not having giving you any lowdown on the contents. Given that the BD is a bonus, the content are all complements to the BD. Go look at the book and then at the BD, watch the BD and flip the book, it'd be something along that line, you should find that fun. This week is actually the deadline for the drafts, but we haven't gotten it all done. I was just to do the detail works, but selection of topics, rough drafts, finalized drafts and so forth are all on me...
  800.  
  801. Reporter: Ehhh? That's tough. The editor usually doesn't pen drafts right?
  802.  
  803. Kadokawa: This piece of work is kind of hard to explain to others. There's no original comic and whatnot and you can't really have people go through the original material considering the release date of the guide. I have to wait on my writers to finish their piece and then then go through them which takes time, so I'd thought it'd be faster if I just do it all myself.
  804.  
  805. Reporter: There's six planned volumes in all that are planned, but just how big are the volumes?
  806.  
  807. Kadokawa: It's size B5 and the number of pages is around 40 pages each.
  808.  
  809. Yaoyorozu: The fans who are used to buying anime BDs should be taken by surprise. Normally the booklet that comes with the BD are only about the size of the case and they have few pages.
  810.  
  811. Reporter: "Bonus part 1: booklet" is a common practice.
  812.  
  813. Yaoyorozu: This time we have this relationship turned upside down. The real content is the book and the BD is the bonus. Kaji-san really had to work hard, but I think that those who picked this up would be satisfied by the results. Yould likely want to buy volume 2 and up if you've looked through volume 1.
  814.  
  815. Kadokawa: Please don't pressure me further! (laughs) But it is true that we've had the need to republish volume 1 from the reservation numbers, but I'd be on the hook if we can't sell starting with volume 2 and up because I messed up with volume 1. What a heavy responsibility on me.
  816.  
  817. Reporter: So what can you tell us about what kind of articles are getting published?
  818.  
  819. Kadokawa: Volume 1 has an interview with Director Tatsuki. We were way too excited so we ended up going for 3 hours during the interview. I had to increase the interview pages because it wouldn't have fit if otherwise.
  820.  
  821. Yaoyorozu: By the way, you see that Tiger illustration on Amazon, which is actually the back cover.
  822.  
  823. Kadokawa: The box contains the book and the BD, while that Tiger drawing is drawn by Yoshizaki-san. As for why that's not the cover and it's the at the back, it's because there are two different sort of contents in the book. It's actually the KemoFure guide if you read the book in reverse order. Normally the bottom of the book would have the box reserved for barcode and whatnot, but we can make use of the of the back better like that. The front cover would use the anime picture which would be upscaled and cleaned up.
  824.  
  825.  
  826. Yaoyorozu: I supposed that people who want to buy volume 1 would be at a loss when they open this up over mail order sites, since they'd see an anime that hasn't been featured in the anime yet...
  827.  
  828. Kadokawa: Where'd Serval go at that. (laughs)
  829.  
  830. Reporter: Is that so! (laughs). You've lost me. Will all 6 volumes have about same size as the first?
  831.  
  832. Kadokawa: That's what we are going for, but can we really do it~
  833.  
  834. (All laugh)
  835.  
  836. Yaoyorozu: Volume 2 would follow after volume 1 is complete, but we haven't finished with volume 1 year. Nevertheless, we have to get going on making volume 2 soon...
  837.  
  838. Reporter: Volume 1 has an interview with Director Tatsuki, so what about volume 2?
  839.  
  840. Kadokawa: Volume 2 are interviews with Hakusui-san the art director and Ise-san who does the settings.
  841.  
  842. Reporter: Then would there be an interview and a "KemoFure guide" with every volume?
  843.  
  844. Kadokawa: That's right. We are hoping that the fans will be pleasantly surprised when they read it. A lot of the setting materials that Yoshizaki-sensei have made in the early days are precious stuff that have never gotten published before. There's a lot of anime related material which are planned for volume 6. I can't really tell you the details, but please look forward to them.
  845.  
  846. Yaoyorozu: There's plenty of fans of Yoshizaki-san who are really waiting to see his picture, so I think that they'd be pleased to see the setting materials. Of course the support of the VA fans are very important, but we wouldn't gone to where we are now if it's just from the popularity of the VA.
  847.  
  848. Kadokawa: If the popularity of the voice actresses did explode, then interview of the actresses may be included as well, but for now are are planning on doing more contents relating to the worldview. Especially at this early stage so we can get a broad overview of the world as much as possible. Obviously the guest voice actresses' comments would be included, the 9 main actresses will be introduced in detail from volume 3-5.
  849.  
  850. Reporter: The people who are posting illustrations up on Pixiv and so forth would really like having a lot of setting materials.
  851.  
  852. Kadokawa: The setting materials won't be like how it is with run of the mill anime. The way how the work is divided up is different with the production of 'KemoFure', which is something that I was told by the Director (laughs). There are a few materials that should make it in by... volume 3? They are characters' rear view designs done by Yoshizaki-san. I wonder if it can make it before Comiket?
  853.  
  854. Reporter: That's great! Are those info relevant to the making of cosplay costumes? (laughs)
  855.  
  856. Kadokawa: There's about 10 characters who we plan to publish. Everyone, are you all interested with where the tails are? You will get your answer by that point in time.
  857.  
  858. Reporter: I think everyone will be pleased to find out. I'd like to see it soon!
  859.  
  860. Kadokawa: I am glad that you think this way (laughs). We really don't have much that we'd want to hide as producers. Normally some of the hidden settings would just go unmentioned right? We try to tell you what we can, so that you can make use of them for derivative work.
  861.  
  862. Yaoyorozu: It's strange for me to say this as I am directly involved, but "Kemono Friends" is of a strange piece of work isn't it? Such as how that sandstar fell from the sky in the game whereas it came out of the volcano in the anime.
  863.  
  864. Kadokawa: Yeah. We explained the reason why it came out of the volcano properly. You're sure to understand if we have the chance to have it explained. It'll be quite a stimulating revelation, especially for those who have played the game.
  865.  
  866. > Finally, what are some words to the fans
  867.  
  868. Interviewer: The people who watch the show have taken to calling each other "Friends", who decided on that name?
  869.  
  870. Kadokawa: I'm pretty sure it was the fans who started that, I don't think we were involved in any way
  871.  
  872. Yaoyorozu: What name were they using when the game was still around?
  873.  
  874. Kadokawa: The game community ended up going with "Park Directors", but for some reason on the internet they refered to themselves as "Ojisan". On Twitter it was something like "Japari Parkers" I think.
  875.  
  876. Yaoyorozu: And now they've all become "Friends"
  877.  
  878. Interviewer: So you didn't decide on that name?
  879.  
  880. Kadokawa: We didn't, on the contrary we thought it would be nice if they could all be "Zookeepers", but apparently no one else did
  881.  
  882. (laughter)
  883.  
  884. Kadokawa:That's how it goes. As sponsors all we should do is put our love into production and try our hardest to do a good job. After that it's up to the fans to enjoy it however they want to.
  885.  
  886. Yaoyorozu:The only thing we actively encouraged was the Twitter hashtag by saying "Please use #KemonoFriends" (laughing)
  887.  
  888. Kadokawa:Because of the character restriction, some were using #KemoFure, but after the anime took off a lot of different hashtags came into use and there were calls for consolidation, so we decided to go with the full name.
  889.  
  890. Yaoyorozu:That's right. Besides that we didn't arrange anything else.
  891.  
  892. Kadokawa:It was the same with deciding to package the blu-ray with the guidebook. We wanted to offer it in a form that the fans would enjoy the most. When fans of the Seiyu said they'd like to participate in an event, we set up a special one for them, so hopefully they'll enjoy that. For the people who are awaiting the goods, I think they should be available soon, so please wait just a little longer. At the moment our hands are full frantically going over things with the supervising director of the anime.
  893.  
  894. Both:We'll continue to work hard on Kemono Friends, so your continued support is appreciated.
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